Question of the Week
German Immigration: Table of German Passenger Ships from 1683-1775
Students will analyze a Table of German Passenger ships that landed in Philadelphia from 1683 to 1775. Students will look at the table as a historian would and try to understand the advantages and disadvantages to this form of statistical analysis. Students will make generalizations about trends in immigration and suggest reasons for sudden spikes or drops in immigration. This activity should take one class period and can be used in conjunction with Lesson Plans One and Two.
- Student will learn to interpret primary source materials and tables.
- Student will understand how immigration patterns changed over time and why patterns changed.
Suggested Instructional Procedures
Note: This lesson involves data anaylsis and statistics. It may be more appropriate for students in upper grades, or done in concert with the math teacher.
1. Assign Worksheet 3. and “Table 1: Number of German Passenger Ships; Immigrant Men, Women and Children; and total passengers 1683-1775” as a homework assignment for students or as an in-class partner activity.
2. Review answers to Worksheet 3. Some questions will have more than one answer. Teacher can write some of the possible explanations for question 7 on the board.
3. Students should understand that finding the answers to such questions is part of the work that historians do. Ask students how they would find the answer or explanations.
- Artisan: A skilled laborer or craftsman.
- Custom-house: Government building or office where customs (taxes) were collected and ships were cleared for entering or leaving a country.
- Dysentery: An inflammation of the intestines. Symptoms included extreme diarrhea, high fever, and severe pain and was usually caused by poor sanitation.
- Florin: A gold coin and form of currency.
- Forty-Eighters: Germans who immigrated to the United States after the failure of the Revolutions of 1848. They tended to be educated, middle class, and anti-slavery.
- French and Indian War: A conflict between France and Great Britain in their North American colonies. The war began in 1754 but later spread to Europe where it was known as the Seven Years War (1756-1763).
- Indenturing: A process of contracting labor for a set number of years in exchange for passage across the ocean.
- Lutheran: The largest Protestant denomination in Germany. They followed teachings of Martin Luther and stressed education and justification through faith alone.
- Mennonites: A religious sect who followed the teachings of Menno Simon (1492-1559). They believed in simplicity of food and life, separation of church and state, and refused to bear arms or serve in the military. They were closely related to the Amish.
- Newlander: An agent commissioned by shipping companies to convince people to settle in America.
- Principality: A sovereign state ruled by a prince or princess.
- Redemptioner: A person who agreed to serve usually three to seven years in the colonies in exchange for transportation. At the end of the term, the person was released from his or her obligations and awarded all the rights of a free citizen. Redemptioner was sometimes called indentured servant.
- Scurvy: A disease caused by vitamin C deficiency. The symptoms included spongy and bleeding gums and general weakness and was usually caused by lack of fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648): A war mostly fought in Germany between Protestants and Catholics but involved many European nations including the Holy Roman Empire, France, and Sweden. The war was started by German Protestant princes who resisted the authority of the Holy Roman Empire and ended with the Peace of Westphalia.
- Traffickers: People who dealt in buying and selling humans and/or their labor.
Related Resources for Students
- Daniels, Roger. American Immigration: A Student Companion. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
- Written for high school students, a good overview of the history of immigration to the United States.
- Shoemaker, Alfred L. The Ancestors of the Pennsylvania Germans. (Copy in The Historical Society of Pennsylvania)
- Excellent summary of German immigration and may be easily adapted for younger or lower level students.
- Thernstrom, Stephan, ed. Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1980.
- Written in encyclopedic format, comprehensive histories of the different ethnic groups within the United States.
Plans in this Unit
This lesson was created by Hannah Kim. Updated for SAS by Clara McGrath, Education Intern, Historical Society of Pennsylvania.